Monday, July 26, 2010

Pregnant women are people.

Dear world: Pregnant women are people. They are not public property. They are not objects. They are not things. They are human beings, people, individuals, and women.

I am hoping most, if not all, of my readers are going "duh?" Unfortunately, this common sense fact isn't quite so common.

Today I read an article called I'm very pregnant - and people are unbelievably rude to me! The writer spent her time explaining about how she feels shamed when people call her huge or comment about how she looks like she's going to have a baby any minute even though she wasn't due for weeks. As I read the article, I couldn't help but agree with what she was saying; yes, people should respect your space; yes, people shouldn't make rude comments about your body; yes, you have the right to be comfortable and not attacked.

So when I reached the end of the article, I expected to see comments sharing these ideas. Instead, I found these:

Instead of getting all het [sic] up over people making comments about your body, spare a thought for the women who would never make a comment about seeing your wonderful pregnant belly.
...
Being pregnant is a blessing - even all the rudeness and invasion of privacy. Make the most of it.


Yes, you are an object of wonder and enjoy it while it lasts because as soon as the baby is born everyone will be looking only at it and ignoring you again!


Good god, what a load of old rubbish.
Stop moaning!


Viv, I really think you should take heed of some of the comments. The vast majority of women give birth, me included. The vast majority of those who give birth experience the same things from friends and strangers. The vast majority of us take in it the good humour in which is was intended.


I'm afraid you're quite right, Viv: when you're pregnant or have a small child with you, you are public property! However, this is not actually a bad thing...



So that's one "shut up and enjoy that stuff you hate," then "enjoy the stuff you hate because everyone will ignore you soon", one "shut up," one "shut up and join the rest of us who shut up" and lastly "stop complaining, what you hate is a good thing!"


I want to either puke or scream.

Did any of these commenters even READ the article? A woman is speaking about her feelings and about how rude and inappropriate comments make her feel. Every single one of the above comments IGNORED her feelings, IGNORED her thoughts, and told her she was either wrong or selfish. Some agreed with her that these comments are inappropriate, ("you are public property"!) but then chastised her for not appreciating them. How does that work!?

Women deserve better than this, and pregnant women are still women. They still have every right to display feelings, have their own opinions and dislike other people touching/talking about them.

The first comment especially strikes a cord with me. There seem to be a lot of people who say that other people must be appreciative of something, because the first person cannot have it. For example, if person A has trouble getting pregnant and person B is pregnant and complaining about people touching her, person A will tell person B that she MUST be thankful for people touching her, since there are people like person A in the world who can't get pregnant or have trouble getting pregnant.

I understand that we must empathize with other people, and a pregnant women should take notice that there are other women who have trouble becoming pregnant. But the existence of those other women does NOT mean that a pregnant women cannot make complaints, cannot tell people not to touch her, cannot be angry about inappropriate comments.

I also read another article today called A Woman's Body: Neither an Incubator, a House, Nor a Meth Lab. This article was about over 20 pregnant women who were addicted to drugs (meth, specifically) and were "prosecuted... under a law that criminalizes bringing children into houses where meth labs are operated." Only problem is, the "house" was the woman's body.

This again is an example of people forgetting that women are human beings. Women are not houses. Perhaps you believe that women addicted to drugs should be punished for having babies addicted to drugs. That's your call, and while I disagree with it, I'd still like for you to think of that woman as a person instead of an object, or a thing.

There is no reason in this day and age for women, pregnant or not, to be treated this way. There is no reason why we cannot fight against this culture of dehumanization. Women are people. We cannot forget that.

5 comments:

  1. I have found myself using/thinking some of those comments with a close friend in the past and while she may not have told me it upset her, I do realize the problem with them. I've never been pregnant (nor intend on it) so I don't have personal experience. I am NOT the kind of person to make ANY comments to pregnant women I don't know. The most I'll do is offer assistance/my seat. I also don't stare at babies (but dogs are fair game). I guess since I don't really care for most kids, I don't really care if a woman is pregnant. Not to be rude, but congrats, you are only the many billionth woman to get pregnant...

    Thanks for linking to that really enlightening article. I will be very careful in the future when my friends get pregnant and I will continue to not fuss over pregnant women I don't know.

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  4. nice and great information...i like your way of thinking about pregnancy.people must change their behavior..

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  5. Amen. I have many pregnant friends who complain about others treating them rudely or like property. If it isn't cool to touch a non-pregnant person's belly, why should you assume it's okay to touch a pregnant person's belly without permission?

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